In 8.2 Spring Training innings, LaTroy Hawkins was masterful. He allowed seven hits and two unearned runs while walking three and striking out three. But as he said on March 24, “Spring Training don’t mean shit.”
Truer words, LaTroy, were never spoken.
Just two appearances and 2.0 innings into the 2008 regular season, LaTroy Hawkins has been utterly shelled. He’s already one-upped those seven spring training hits and has given up 7 earned runs. He’s managed to walk no one, but he hasn’t struck anyone out either. Luckily for him, two innings does not a season make.
The other long reliever on the Yanks guaranteed hasn’t been much better. With two inherited runners on base, Kyle Farnsworth entered tonight’s game and, well, pulled a Kyle Farnsworth. One batter later, three Tampa Bay runs had scored, and a close 6-4 game quickly ended up at 13-4. On the season, Farnsworth hasn’t been terrible; he has 4 strike outs in 2.1 innings. But the five hits are not a good sign, and the home run tonight just seemed like business as usual for Krazy Kyle.
The rest of the bullpen, meanwhile, has been as good as advertised. Jonathan Albaladejo, Ross Ohlendorf, Joba Chamberlain, Mariano Rivera, Brian Bruney and Billy Traber have given up four hits and no runs in 11.2 innings. This sextet has recored 13 strike outs and one walk in the first four games of the season. Sadly for the Yanks, Albaladejo will be sentenced to the minors.
While sample size issues are certain a problem here, I’m wondering if the Yanks bullpen is better off with Albaladejo and Scott Patterson than it is with Kyle Farnsworth and LaTroy Hawkins. Funny how that works out, eh?
The rest of tonight’s 13-4 loss was rather forgettable. Ian Kennedy simply didn’t have his best stuff tonight. He was missing his spots badly, and his pitches were trailing over the center of the plate. They were very hittable, and the Tampa Bay Rays — a very underrated team — took full advantage of Kennedy’s mistakes. The Yanks meanwhile couldn’t hit a lick outside of one inning.
Today, the Yanks have Pettitte going with a chance to put the season’s first ugly loss behind them. Sadly, he’ll be backed up by one of the weaker combinations of relief pitching the Yanks could put behind him for now. As the starters get over their early-season pains, it will be interesting to see how the Yanks bullpen plays out. Right now, I don’t go to Hawkins or Farnsworth in key situations if I’m Joe Girardi. The kids, meanwhile, are alright.